Search

How much can you remember about the group stages of the 2018 World Cup?

PUBLISHED: 13:45 05 July 2018

England's John Stones (second left) celebrates scoring his side's fourth goal of the game during the World Cup Group G match against Panama at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium. Photo: Adam Davy / PA

England's John Stones (second left) celebrates scoring his side's fourth goal of the game during the World Cup Group G match against Panama at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium. Photo: Adam Davy / PA

PA Wire/PA Images

With the group stage of the World Cup in the books, how much can you remember about the opening round of games?

The tournament got off to a flyer with Portugal and Spain serving up a classic. Cristiano Ronaldo grabbed the headlines by completing a hat-trick with a stunning late equaliser.

After 13 days, this World Cup got its first goalless draw as France, already through, and Denmark, who needed a point to join them, went through the motions in Moscow.

There are plenty of contenders for goal of the group stages after Russia’s Denis Cheryshev set the tone in game one. There have been fine long-range strikes from Nacho, Philippe Coutinho, Luka Modric, Granit Xhaka, Son Heung-min and Jesse Lingard and a great volley from Dries Mertens. But the skill of Nigeria’s Ahmed Musa to control and smash home against Iceland stood out.

Germany mounted an unexpectedly dismal defence of the title they won so impressively four years ago. After losing their opener to Mexico, a last-gasp defeat of Sweden offered hope but they slumped out after an insipid display against South Korea.

The host cities have been awash with the colour and vibrancy of all nations but, for sheer joie de vivre, Senegal fans take some beating. And that’s without mentioning the fact they pick up their litter on their way out of the ground.

As Germany’s first-choice centre-forward, much was expected of highly-rated Leipzig forward Timo Werner but he simply failed to make an impact. He was not alone, however, as the vastly-experienced Robert Lewandowski proved hugely underwhelming in Poland’s dire campaign.

Even the VAR cynics had to agree that the system worked perfectly as South Korea were awarded the first of their two dramatic late goals against Germany after it had been incorrectly disallowed for offside. That followed other successes such as Neymar being caught out after diving to win a penalty, Sweden earning a spot-kick after a foul was missed, Iran rightly having a goal chalked off for offside and Spain being awarded one. Critics will still point out that it missed Kane and Serbia’s Aleksandar Mitrovic being wrestled off the ball while Australia and Portugal harshly had spot-kicks awarded against them for handball.

Perhaps the only positive Germany will have to reflect on from this World Cup wass Toni Kroos curling home his brilliant last-gasp winner against Sweden from a set-piece, in a moment of need, daring, and exceptional quality.

The depth and quality of TV analysis has probably never been so high, with both main broadcasters backing up their reliable experts with some smart new signings. Alan Shearer continues to talk common sense on the BBC, who have also benefited from the insight of Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard and Alex Scott. Ally McCoist has done a fine job as a co-commentator on ITV, whose studio analysis has also been strong with Roy Keane, Eni Aluko and Gary Neville proving popular.

Germany’s Mats Hummels summed up his country’s sorrow after their elimination with a simple word - sorry. That was a far cry from Kane’s display of sheer joy after his late winner against Tunisia, which earned him more than 24,000 retweets. Elsewhere, Ian Wright’s stunned reaction to a Lionel Messi penalty miss went viral while Jesse Lingard provided some talking points with his photographs of England team-mates racing unicorns in their hotel pool.

Team of the group stages:

Jo (South Korea); Trippier (England), Gimenez (Uruguay), Stones (England), Cheryshev (Russia); Casemiro (Brazil); Hazard (Belgium), Coutinho (Brazil); Ronaldo (Portugal), Kane (England), Lukaku (Belgium).


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the East London Advertiser. Click the link in the yellow box below for details.

Latest East London Sports News

08:02

The Premier League has held talks with sports technology company STATSports to help shape training sessions ahead of the move to contact training.

07:52

Former Rugby Football Union chief executive Francis Baron believes a ‘Coronavirus Cup of World Rugby’ next summer could significantly ease the economic hardship facing the global game because of the pandemic.

Yesterday, 18:12

Lee Westwood is optimistic that the European Tour’s planned resumption at the Betfred British Masters will go ahead in July.

Yesterday, 16:00

West Ham United co-owner David Sullivan is to make a personal donation to Newham Foodbank of £3,500, to cover the shortfall in matchday donations from the five postponed home matches from Irons Supporting Foodbanks.

Yesterday, 14:00

Players from West Ham United’s Academy of Football are keeping track of their fitness programmes, while at the same time raising money in aid of King George and Queen’s Hospitals Charity, to support their inspiring local NHS heroes in East London and Essex.

Yesterday, 10:00

Leyton Orient chief executive Danny Macklin heaped praise on Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane by terming him as a ‘first-class individual’

Yesterday, 07:35

The International Cricket Council (ICC)’s recommendation of a temporary ban on using saliva to shine the ball could hand batsmen a significant advantage, claims Australia paceman Mitchell Starc.

Mon, 16:02

The 2019-20 Women’s Super League season has been brought to an end with immediate effect.

PROMOTED CONTENT

The Government has announced an unprecedented package of support to protect jobs and support business across the UK during the coronavirus outbreak.

People working for a wide range of private companies have been standing side-by-side with public sector staff on the front line during the coronavirus outbreak.

The United Kingdom is pulling together as one, with people from all regions and all four nations of the country helping each other through the coronavirus pandemic.

Most read sport

Competitions

A competition for wannabe writers has been started to add works to Canary Wharf’s ‘short story’ dispensers which are temporarily locked up by the lock down.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Most Read

Latest from the East London Advertiser